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Style notes: Rethinking the classic ‘Le Marin’ in aqua cashmere

Bairbre Power appreciates a modern twist on the much-loved nautical look, and finds stylish ways to dress up her greys


Aqua and chalk stripe cashmere jumper by Laura Chambers

Aqua and chalk stripe cashmere jumper by Laura Chambers

Blue and orange floral small scarf, susannaghgrogan.com

Blue and orange floral small scarf, susannaghgrogan.com


Aqua and chalk stripe cashmere jumper by Laura Chambers

If you saw Angelina Jolie walking around The Met Museum looking utterly fabulous in a pair of jeans, I bet you’d be staring at her derrière too, trying to get a better view of the label. Enterprising Dubliner Laura Chambers reacted quickly to her sighting, establishing that the denims in question were J Brand, and she was one of the first retailers to introduce them to Ireland.

Her gorgeous shop in the George’s Street Arcade closed in 2009 and the NCAD fashion graduate then went back to her first calling: designing. Since then, Laura Chambers Cashmere has become a hugely popular brand in what is, undoubtedly, a very competitive luxury sector.

Laura’s latest collection is available from this week and includes a striking aqua and chalk stripe in honeycomb stitch (€440). It has a lovely nautical feel, but Laura puts a twist on the usual navy and white ‘Le Marin’ summer classic. The photo shoot at Portmarnock captures the reality of the Irish summer, when there may be blue skies, but you still need to bring a sweater with you.

In addition to her main collection, which is hand-knitted by craftspeople in Dublin, Laura is open to adapting things. Enquiries like ‘Can I change the stripes?’ or ‘Can you change the funnel neck to a round neck because I tend to heat up?’ are something she often hears.

Laura said: “You can’t beat a stripe; it’s such a classic worn with denim jeans, and I love clashing a stripe with a leopard print. Once you look after your cashmere with a bit of TLC, you have it forever.” laura-chambers.com

Ghost in M&S

High-street veteran M&S is certainly catering for all sizes in its collaboration with Ghost, which launched with a 15-piece edit in sizes 6-20, priced at €80-€120.

Now, before you go thinking this is going to be all sexy and full of bias-cut slip dresses, a la the early days of Ghost, you need to think again.

The M&S X Ghost range includes long, fluid, contemporary tea-dress styles; fit and flare styles, tied to the side and pleated under the bust; round and V-neck necklines; ruffles; and prints include ditsy flower and bolder graphics that tick boxes to suit the bigger size offering.

There are a few shorter mini styles in this drop and a third collection will be available in June. marksandspencer.com

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Bandana action

How are you managing with your hair these days? Now that my greys have taken over and my handful of November highlights are down around my ears, I’ve taken to wearing my neck scarves as bandanas; or tied in a unruly knot on the top; or tucked up at the back, so I resemble one of the Women’s Land Army in World War II.

I was charmed to see that designer and artist Susannagh Grogan has introduced a new range of scarves this week, and one speaks to my new scarf/hair-styling regime: the blue and orange floral small scarf (pictured left) measures 70x70cm and costs €85.


Blue and orange floral small scarf, susannaghgrogan.com

Blue and orange floral small scarf, susannaghgrogan.com

Blue and orange floral small scarf, susannaghgrogan.com

Susannagh’s artwork, on which the scarf print is based, was achieved by gouache paint and brush technique on a background with digital lace detailing.

“It is one of my favourite colour combinations, orange with turquoise it reminds me of sun and sea and I also did one with red and pink colours,” said Susannagh.

Other scarf designs in the new collection include a ‘Geometric Ribbon’ in two sizes the classic 90x90cm (€135) and an extra-large, very luxurious 140x140cm (€250).

Like all creatives in the country, Susannagh has her own take on face masks and her current styles include cotton ones in hues that link in with the colourways of her silk scarves, and they feature a hand-embroidered gold bee (€20). susannaghgrogan.com

 Personal shopping

The government decision not to allow a return to click-and-collect has been a real body blow to the retail sector, especially those who do not have e-commerce to fall back on.

I have to hand it to the resilient Irish retailers who have pressed on regardless and taken to posting videos on Instragram with gusto.

The boutiques in Kildare Village retail park are doing direct personal shopping for customers, and a full list of brands available and details for each of the boutiques, is available on the website.

The popular retail venture welcomed a number of new brands over the last year, including Tod’s, Jimmy Choo, Eleventy, Neom and Tory Burch.

This month, Kildare Village confirmed that it is looking forward to welcoming a further 31 new brands during its third phase of opening this autumn. kildarevillage.com

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